State of the Union: Obama challenges divided Congress to back his job proposals

U.S. President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union Speech. Credit: Reuters
U.S. President Barack Obama delivers his State of the Union Speech.
Credit: Reuters

President Barack Obama sketched an ambitious second-term agenda in his State of the Union speech on Tuesday, challenging a divided Congress to back his proposals to create middle-class jobs and overhaul gun and immigration laws.

Obama entered the well of the House of Representatives for his address to a joint session of Congress at a time when he is again locked in a bitter battle with Republicans over taxes and spending, and this tussle cast a heavy shadow over his appearance.

Americans, said Obama, do not expect government to solve every problem, “but they do expect us to put the nation’s interests before party. They do expect us to forge reasonable compromises where we can.”

But many of his proposals may face a difficult path getting through Congress. He proposed raising the U.S. minimum wage for workers from $7.25 to $9 an hour. Republicans typically oppose increases in the minimum wage out of worry it will prompt businesses to fire workers.

He backed a $50 billion program to fund infrastructure rebuilding projects like fixing aging bridges, but many Republicans are adamantly against such stimulative government spending after Obama’s first term $787 billion stimulus did not lead to a dramatic reversal in the unemployment rate.

“Our economy is adding jobs, but too many people still can’t find full-time employment,” he said. “Corporate profits have rocketed to all-time highs, but for more than a decade, wages and incomes have barely budged.”

It was the kind of rhetoric Obama used to great effect during his re-election campaign when he appealed to the middle class, and he made clear he wanted to help those who supported him, to “reignite the true engine of America’s economic growth, a rising, thriving middle class.”

Seeking to use momentum from his re-election victory, the Democratic president urged Congress to increase taxes on the wealthy, overhaul U.S. immigration laws and enact tighter gun controls. He has about a year to get his legislative priorities enacted before Americans shift attention to 2014 congressional elections.

In a nod to Republican worries over what they see as out-of-control government spending on entitlement programs for the elderly and poor, Obama said he would back efforts to reduce health-care spending by the same amount over a decade as proposed by a bipartisan commission whose recommendations he had rejected.

While heavily focused on domestic policies, Obama’s speech had some crucial foreign policy elements.

He outlined steps to unwind U.S. involvement in the unpopular 11-year-old Afghanistan war and plans to announce that 34,000 of the 66,000 U.S. troops still there will return by early 2014.

He did not give details of what sort of residual American presence might remain in Afghanistan after 2014, when the U.S. withdrawal is supposed to be complete.

Obama’s speech came a day after North Korea conducted its third underground test of a nuclear device in response to what it called U.S. hostility.

“Provocations of the sort we saw last night will only isolate them further, as we stand by our allies, strengthen our own missile defense and lead the world in taking firm action in response to these threats,” he said.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Katz's Deli wins name battle with Florida cafe

The New York City delicatessen Katz's has won a legal battle to force a Florida restaurant to change its name, according to court documents made public on Monday.

Local

Rethinking the NYC subway map and mass transit…

Max Roberts has never ridden New York City's subway — but he's thought about system's twists and turns more than most daily riders. A 47-year-old…

National

U.S. coastal flooding on the rise, government study…

By Ryan McNeill(Reuters) - Flooding is increasing in frequency along much of the U.S. coast, and the rate of increase is accelerating along the Gulf…

Local

NYPD: Suspect dead after two U.S. Marshals, cop…

A suspect was dead after a shooting that left two U.S. Marshals and an NYPD detective wounded in the West Village Monday afternoon, officials said.

Movies

'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.

Television

'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."

Television

TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.

Entertainment

'Kim Kardashian: Hollywood' game easter eggs and cheats

"Kim Kardashian: Hollywood" is the hottest game of the moment. Here are its best easter eggs as well as some tips and tricks to speed your way to the top.

NFL

Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

MLB

Joe Torre: I'm in Hall of Fame because…

Joe Torre spent 18 years putting together a near Hall of Fame career as a player. But it was the 12 years he spent as…

MLB

Yankees GM Brian Cashman breaks down art of…

The action frequently accelerates as the non-waiver trade deadline approaches, as it will on Thursday.

Food

Zagat releases '30 Under 30' list

Zagat releases a list of the people changing the food and drink industry across the country.

Wellbeing

Fist bump gets respect as clean alternative to…

Though long used to give props, the fist bump is getting some actual respect. The gesture, once dubbed a “terrorist fist jab,” could become the new…

Wellbeing

Fist bump gets respect as clean alternative to…

Though long used to give props, the fist bump is getting some actual respect. The gesture, once dubbed a “terrorist fist jab,” could become the new…

Tech

Amazon offers 3D printing to customize earrings, bobble…

By Deepa SeetharamanSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Amazon.com Inc will offer 3D printing services that allow customers to customize and build earrings, bobble head toys and…

Comments

1

  1. Hi there, simply become alert to your blog via Google, and
    found that it’s truly informative. I’m going to be careful for brussels.
    I’ll appreciate when you proceed this in future. Many other people will probably be benefited from your writing. Cheers!

    my page; [url=http://www.weprintdirectforless.com/printing-deals.asp]Rack Cards[/url]